Saturday, December 04, 2021


Was R up for a second attempt to look at Central Park? No, and I agreed, it was too hot. Back into Subway Hades to go back to the flat, but my Metro Card would not release the turnstile. R went through without a problem. I tried again and as I thought would happen, now insufficient credit. R passed his card through to me but it too had run out of funds. Damn, I will have to put the minimum of $10 on the card and this will he the last trip I will take. Yes, there are the machines to top up. A lad bounded up, $3 man, and I will open the turnstile for you. It is ok, I said, I will put money on my card. But both ticket machines were out of service. I was smelling a rat, but $3 for a $2.75 fare was irresistible to me, even though I had already paid. Lordy it was so hot. As sweat dripped from me, I gave him the $3 and sure enough, he opened the turnstile.

I was scammed. I don't know how he worked it but well done that boy for enterprise.

This is an extract from a longer post written after our visit to New York City.

It is not the only time I have been scammed. I've written about it previously but a long time ago, so I will repeat it soon. How about during your travels? Surely some of you have been scammed in some manner.

Friday, December 03, 2021

Dateline: Thursday 2nd November

Age fog led me to make a grave error in the headline. It should of course be December. 

The day was going well as we bought some bits and pieces in Prahran, including of course a cup of coffee and we availed ourselves of Portuguese tarts. They weren't as good as the tarts you buy in Lisbon or Porto but nice enough. 

I try not to say anything to R about his driving but sometimes I snap. "Why didn't you go? There was no problem and then you blast the woman with the horn. You had right of way, there was no danger. Why didn't you just go? Caution and courtesy is good. Hesitancy is not." There was an explosion of anger. "You were looking at your phone. How do you know?". I was but I had looked up and eased off on my imaginary brake pedal to see why we had stopped in an unusual place. 

I was catching the 2.16 Werribee train to Footscray. I was listening to a podcast and sorting emails on my phone and it took me some minutes to notice the train wasn't moving. We were told the train was not taking passengers and to leave the train. I tapped a lad on the shoulder who had earbuds in I expect at full volume and missed the announcement. Staff checked each carriage to make they were empty. Various confusing announcements were made but eventually we were told the train we had just left will become the 2.36 to Werribee and it did and departed on time. 

Three times at various places in Footscray I came a across a strangely behaving man wearing a tee shirt with the slogan, "You don't know it, but I watching your choice of beer".  Deep, hey. 

An experienced sports journalist pronounced debut as de-butt. A footballer will make his de-butt... I've never heard the word pronounced like that before.

At times I feel so old and tired. But then I am excited that YouTuber Rory Ding has published a new video of his travel on the historic train route from Queenstown to Strahan in Tasmania. We travelled on the train from Queenstown to an intermediate point and back and loved it. The train journeyed into a rain forest and guess what, it rained! It is a long clip, so I am savouring it for tomorrow morning when I reserve time for watching YouTube clips. 

Comedian Arj Barker who was a panellist on ABC TV's Q & A, hair looks like it has had a dose of a cheap supermarket bought Asian black hair dye. So many Melbourne women went grey during our lockdown when hairdressers were closed, and went on to decide they didn't mind their grey hair and have stayed grey. Good on 'em.

A too high truck went under a major train bridge and tipped over, with disastrous results for public transport users, motor car traffic and probably pedestrians too. A truck hit a power pole in Toorak Road that led to a suspension of the Toorak tram service for hours and a lot of pain for motorists. Professional drivers? Not so much.  

Today was hot and now it is cold. I love Melbourne. 

Thursday, December 02, 2021

A jolly jaunt to town

Last Saturday morning we sat in the weak sunshine at The Wall cafe in Balaclava. R had sourdough toast and I had fruit loaf loaf toast. Toast and coffee set us back over $20. Two slices of toast each for $8 each.  I must stop thinking like I am poor. It was very pleasant. I heard a distantly familiar noise, a train whistle. I knew what was coming. I dashed a few steps to Carlisle Street to watch a steam engine towing restored Red Rattler (Tait I think) carriages.I was so surprised I just watched and didn't take photos. It was a steam train shuttle service between Flinders Street and Sandringham Stations.

We returned home to rest up before the onslaught of Ex Sis in Law and four of our great nieces.

The Basket (thanks Snowy) of Deplorables was demonstrating in the city again and tram services were disrupted. R was stressed because the afternoon wasn't going to be simple. The twin's father who had Friday night access returned the twins late to their nan Ex Sis in Law and so did not arrive until 3.30, an hour late. As they were late, the tram service had returned to normal, so making things much easier.

There was a long and managed queue and it took about fifteen minutes before we saw the Myer Christmas window animatronics display of Peter Rabbit. Expensive hard copy book of Peter Rabbit featured in Myer book and children's department now. 

We trammed it a couple of city stops to Federation Square. We had the kiddies geeded up to see the Christmas tree to alert us where to get off the tram.  "There it is!", a couple of them exclaimed.

Chips, pizza, coffee and soft drinks were consumed. We picked up the tab! I must stop telling myself I am poor. 

There was subsequent play among the Christmas decorations, but then a stage was discovered and don't young children un-self-consciously love a stage. They pranced, danced, jumped and ran around, as did other kids on the stage.

Home time, back to The Highrise for more food and drinks. Mother went back into hospital this day because of an ulcer on her leg that is not healing. We were supposed to visit her at home Sunday and we had bought a birthday sponge for ABI Brother. Instead we and the great nieces consumed Brother's birthday sponge. 

They all left at 6.30. Old people had missed the commercial tv 6pm tv news but did manage to catch ABC tv news at 7.00. A ham sandwich with French seed mustard was the go for dinner. 

I treasure such days. I know they won't last forever. 

R has successfully herded and leashed his dogs.

A couple of very short videos of the Peter the Rabbit window theme. I am not sure what is being mixed by the rabbits in the bowl but in the second Peter has taken a lettuce from the grumpy looking man's garden. The windows were quite good this year, but that is from an adult perspective.

At Federation Square.

Clambering over and through his amused the children, not just our tribe, more than anything else.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Last person in, please leave. We will die

This one is for James, in spite of him calling lifts elevators, which I have so tried to correct and failed to do with a great niece. At least James after a bad start did start calling them lifts. 

I've brought my 1980s solar powered Casio in from the recharging sunlight and hopeful its calculations will be correct. It was hot today and it may be overcharged. I've prepared in advance to blame the calculator for mistakes. 

There is a serious discordance with the carrying capacity of lifts. Oh, I've just realised I am going to have convert these to pounds as well. 

Geelong Library.

1275 (how do I make a divide symbol?) :/ 17 =  people weighing 75 kg, 165 pound.

Queenscliff Bowling, Tennis and Croquet Club.

385 divided by 5 is 77kg. What... 170 pound, with a wheelchair proviso. You get a few of those in Queenscliff.

Our soon to be replaced lift at home, 1156 divided by 17 is 68 kg, only 150 pounds. Now there are a number of Asian residents living here, but even so I think 17 of usual sized lift travellers may breach the weight. It would be a bit like how many people can you get into a Mini Minor. 17 is almost impossible to fit inside our lift and back then no one had invented the term social distancing. 

About the only thing to extrapolate from these figures is there isn't State of Federal standards for average person weight in lifts. If you have a building or work lift, I'd be interested to know what your lift weights are.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Queenscliff Day 4

Time to go home, but we need food first so the Bellarine Family gathered at precisely 10.45 at The Dunes in Ocean Grove before we hit the freeway home, after the oh so slow drive through Geelong. 

Myself and R, Ex Sis in Law and her husband (Mornington Peninsula), Sister and her daughter Jo and Fire Fighting Nephew and his daughter Little Ju were all there and it was quite nice, with nice views over the sea and great surrounds. FFN's wife was unwell and stayed home.

Three weeks earlier they had announced she was pregnant. He made a grandiose announcement at brunch that they were having twins. We were so excited for them but the wife cried all the way home from where the scan was taken. She is an event organiser and had also organised their lives for the next ten years. Twins weren't in the equation. She stayed home this day as she is suffering a lot of pain in her early pregnancy.

FFN's sister, Hippie Niece has the cafe latte coloured twins. Twins do run in the family. FFN told me twins come from the mother's side,  not his. It was not his doing and he should not accept blame. I said to him, surely you had something to do with it. He laughed. 

That's a short post. I'll go on and of course River trumped me with the announcement that her son is having twins.

The still crawling Little Ju came across Jo who was seated at the table. Little Ju stopped on the floor at the feet of Jo and stared up at Jo for at least two minutes. It was like she was trying to absorb something from Jo. I took photos. It was weird. Little Ju is the most wonderfully happy baby. 

It is some time since I have said much about Jo, my sister and her wife's daughter. She is fourteen and remains perfectly polite and friendly. She has no great desire to visit our place, the Tall House as she used to call it. Why would should she? Two old men out of touch with the culture of the young. But she doesn't mind our fast wifi connection and watching internet on the large screen or computer screen rather than her phone. Note: Jo did have  a brief uncommunicative period, but she seems to have passed that. Also she has expressed a desire for us to take her to see the Myer Christmas windows. 

She is interesting to observe. Her dress sense is unconventional. At times I think, that doesn't work but other times I think, that is not conventional but it works. I've recently noticed that while she doesn't wear conventional makeup, her lower eyelids are lined with a black subtle upward curve, or is her upper eyelids.

The first 6 or so years of her education were at government primary school, admittedly a very good one. She now travels in a bus for an hour each way to an excellent non religious Japanese owned private school. Within just two years she has developed a posh Australian private school girl accent. Along with being academically excellent, she is also very interested in performing arts and can sing and dance, play a little guitar and flute and will soon attend a huge scout jamboree, as she has before. She can write and has been minor published. Just today as I write, Sister posted a photo of her playing cricket at some club. I am surprised. Much to Sister's disappointment, Jo doesn't really like sports.

All that by the age of fourteen. She is also passionate about the environment and animal welfare. 

She still loves her Uncle R, and I suppose has some respect for Aunty Andrew.

She is way smarter than any of her family, including her own mother, but what she is yet to learn is how to speak to people on their level. FFN asked her about school and she talked about it in such a detailed manner and I as listener and  FFN both had very glazed eyes. We ill educated had no idea about what she was talking about.

The last time she was here, Sister said something about something that happened two weeks ago. Jo argued it was one week ago. Sister argued back. Eventually I said to Jo, does it matter? There are times to be accurate and pedantic when people  say something wrong. There are times when a minor point is not important. She replied, but I am right. She is perhaps with an unfortunate gene in common with Aunty Andrew. 

Sister's social skills are excellent. Sister was recently on a tv quiz show and performed well. A couple of days ago she was on ABC radio talking about public swimming pools and her desire to swim in every one of them in our state. Sister is friendly and outgoing and can talk to anyone in any situation quite naturally. 

It is a skill Jo has yet to learn but I am sure she will. I think of myself at fourteen and I was so way behind. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

Monday Mural

This was in a lane off Little Malop Street, Geelong. I'm sure there is a deep meaning to mural, but I don't know what. Suggestions are welcome, even the silly ones. 

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sunday Selections

Mine are just a few random photos taken over a few weeks. Check out Elephant's Child and River's Sunday Selections too. 

Our pool and spa are reflected in the building next door. If we have a spa, we prefer not to share so we check if anyone is down there first by looking at this reflection.

Very difficult to see but a woman had a canary and a love bird in this wheeled plastic basket on tram. She was happy for me to take photos. I initially thought the love bird's sound was a squeak coming from the tram body.

Why are these plastic plugs hammered into a very nice old elm tree? 

A beautifully made storm water drain near Dights Falls.

I believe this is a heron, perhaps a grey heron.

While sitting and having coffee at South Melbourne Market, I noticed the shapes above me. It wasn't immediately clear to me that the silhouettes were two pigeons.  

I really only took this photo for my own purposes to note the carriage number, however...

These V/Locity trains make up the bulk of our regional train system. There are still a few locomotive hauled passenger trains running, especially longer distances but they are getting very old now. Each V/Locity carriage has its own diesel motors. While they are a bit noisy inside with engine noise, they are very smooth and can certainly reach 160 km/h, 100 mph as I recently discovered. They have exquisitely comfortable seats, wide, soft and padded in the right areas.

Well, I thought they all had the comfortable seats but they don't. This one I caught had what I've heard described as 'ironing board' seats. The seats are smaller, hard and not comfortable at all. Given you could be sitting on a country train for over two hours, it is not good enough.

From what I can find out, there aren't many trains with these seats. They came into service in 2020 and after complaints, newer and better seats have been used, but I am not sure if they are as good as the old ones. Is it progress to replace comfortable seats with uncomfortable seats? Rhetorical, I know. Bad bad V/Line.